Classic Punk Rock Compilation LPs.
Over the years, the compilation LP has rightly become the bedrock of any perceived ‘happening’. During the formative months of the development of any given scene, a compilation or two (usually on an obscure independent label) will appear to define the zeitgeist.
1977 was no exception - with pundits & commentators alike keen to establish a few ground rules - & a slew of top quality collections appeared almost overnight to pencil in a few guidelines.
The following is a guide to the most essential compilation LPs from the dawn of the birth of Punk Rock UK circa 76-79:
Short Circuit - Live At The Electric Circus - Virgin (VCL 5003) - Blue Vinyl.
Released on 10 blue vinyl in 1978, Short Circuit features performances by The Fall, John Cooper Clarke, Joy Division, The Drones, Steel Pulse & Buzzcocks - all recorded during the last nights of the legendary Manchester venue’s life.
Steel Pulse provide the smoking tips in the guise of Makka Splaff, a request to the collie man to provide ample herb for the night. JCC chips in with I Married A Monster from Outer Space & (You Never See A Nipple In The) Daily Express - unaccompanied. The Fall drop Last Orders & Stepping Out in furious fashion. The Drones are The Drones, Joy Division are punked up & Buzzcocks tear through Times Up like it’s their finest hour.
Currently not available on CD. Original vinyl - £30+ on Ebay.
Live At The Vortex - Nems (NEL 6013).
Considered by many at the time to have been an exercise in barrel scraping on a par with Some Product, Live At The Vortex hasn’t aged well - but does remain a crucial document.
The Wasps, Art Attacks, Maniacs & Neo represent the new blood of the second wave taking on the dog-eared stalwarts of the Pub Rock Old Guard in the shape of Bernie Torme & Mean Street.
Recorded on RAK Mobile in October 1977, Live At The Vortex has a few saving graces: The Wasps’ Can’t Wait Till 78, Art Attacks’ Animal Bondage & Maniacs I Ain’t Gonna Be History being just 3 of them.
Currently available on CD on Anagram Records - (CD Punk 68). Original vinyl - £25+ on Ebay.
Streets - Beggars Banquet (BEGA 1).
1977 was the year that the music came out of the concert halls & onto the streets; when independent labels sprang out of the woodwork to feed new tastes; when rock music once again became about energy & fun; when the major’s boardrooms lost control. Suddenly we could do anything.
So said the sleeve notes to Streets, the 1st real collection of ‘highlights from independent British labels’ ever undertaken. Featuring The Art Attacks, Cane, John Cooper Clarke, The Dogs, The Doll, Drive, The Drones, The Exile, The Lurkers, The Members, The Arthur Comics (nee The Snivelling Shits), The Nosebleeds, Pork Dukes, The Reaction, Slaughter & The Dogs Tractor & The Zeros, Streets was utterly groundbreaking stuff.
Mostly recorded in 1977 for a variety of labels including Cargo, Lightening, Rabid, OHMS, NRG, Boring Records, XS & Albatros, the idea behind Streets was the template that would expand to eventually become the Cartel (UK Independent Distro Collective).
Currently not available on CD. Original vinyl - £30 + on Ebay.
The Roxy London WC2 (Jan - Apr 77) - EMI (SHSP 4069)
Capturing the full force of the first wave head on, The Roxy is an essential historical reminder of the power & the glory of Punk Rock. Slaughter & The Dogs, The Unwanted, Wire, The Adverts, Johnny Moped, Eater, X-Ray Spex & Buzzcocks all feature on the 12 cut original vinyl version (later re-issued with a gatefold sleeve).
This set was re-released on CD in 2001 by Sanctuary as a 2CD set including another 19 tracks & adding The Boys, Sham 69 & UK Subs.
New Wave - Vertigo - (6300 902)
The daddy of all Punk Rock comps (earlier generations may cite Nuggets) for me, New Wave was where it all began. My copy is somewhat thinner than when I first acquired it - I literally played it to death. Ramones, Dead Boys, Patti Smith, New York Dolls, Runaways, Skyhooks, Voidoids, Little Bob Story, The Boomtown Rats, Talking Heads, The Damned & The Flamin Groovies. The groups of my life. Judy Is A Punk, Sonic Reducer, Piss Factory, Personality Crisis, Love Comes In Spurts, New Rose, Shake Some Action & Cherry Bomb. The soundtrack to my life.
With sleeve artwork featuring the work of Peter Kodick (the man who shot the sick shots for ?DDD?) - New Wave is the genuine artefact - & my favourite compilation LP of all time (period).
Johnny Forgotten - tMx 13 - 01/04